Inbox: What's the plan for Erlin, Wieland?
Beat reporter Corey Brock answers Padres fans' questions
Hey friends, we're creeping closer to Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers report to Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 19, with the first workout set for the following day. The Padres signed pitcher Micah Owings to a one-year deal this week, which might be the final piece the team adds before heading to Arizona.
So, with an eye on Spring Training -- and the other on the upcoming six-hour drive through El Centro, Yuma and Gila Bend on the way to Peoria -- let's tackle another Padres Inbox.
I'm wondering where pitchers Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland stand on the Padres' list of prospects? Do you know how close they were to being listed on MLB.com's Top 100 prospect list? Or if they were even considered?
-- Mike B., El Cajon
I'm sure Erlin and Wieland were considered for the MLB.com Top 100 Prospects list, but just because they didn't make the cut doesn't mean they're not viable prospects. In fact, Erlin ranks sixth among all Padres prospects according to MLB.com, with Wieland coming in at No. 8. Both pitchers were obtained last July 31 in the deal with the Rangers for reliever Mike Adams. I know the Padres are very high on both pitchers, and many in the organization wouldn't be surprised if both arrive at Petco Park at some point this season, perhaps sooner than later. I think Wieland will start the season with Triple-A Tucson and Erlin might begin back at Double-A San Antonio, though he might not be there long. Both appear to be very close to joining the Padres' starting rotation in 2012.
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What happened to Chad Qualls and Brad Hawpe?
-- Jill M., La Mesa
If you have a short memory, Qualls and Hawpe were two players that former general manager Jed Hoyer signed before last season. Only Qualls made it to the end of the regular season with San Diego. Qualls, a reliever, recently signed a one-year deal with the Phillies. Hawpe, an outfielder, had season-ending surgery on his right elbow in June. Last month, he signed a Minor League deal with the Rangers that comes with an invitation to Spring Training. That means the Padres could very well see him next month when Cactus League games begin in Arizona. Neither player was in the Padres' plans for the 2012 season.
I'm a huge Cameron Maybin fan. Do the Padres tag him with the franchise sticker with big money or sign him for a few years and then use him as trade bait? I like what he brings to the team and he is still just 24 years old.
-- Jason H., Greensboro, N.C.
Jason, you might be mixing your sports when you talk about the "franchise tag," but you're right in thinking that the Padres would like to hold onto Maybin for a while. The Padres and Maybin's old agent had some preliminary talks about an extension after the regular season. Those talks really didn't go anywhere, though. Maybin has since changed agents, going back to his original agent, Brian Goldberg. You might recognize the name, as Goldberg was the longtime agent for Ken Griffey Jr. I could see the two sides talking at some point, perhaps as early as Spring Training. I think the Padres liked what they saw from Maybin a year ago -- the defense, the stolen bases, the raw power. There's a lot to like there, and as you mentioned, he's just 24. Trade bait? I don't see it. They would like Maybin to patrol center field at Petco Park for a long time.
Hey Corey, two-part question for you: What do you think the rotation will look like at the end of the season? And what's your favorite craft beer in San Diego?
-- Chris S., San Diego
Hey Chris. Boy, end-of-the-season rotation? That's a lot tougher to peg than the Opening Day starting rotation, that's for sure. OK, in no particular order -- Tim Stauffer, Cory Luebke, Edinson Volquez, Wieland and Erlin. Again, this is just a guess, and you could easily see Casey Kelly as part of the rotation at the end of the season as well. The same goes for Clayton Richard and Dustin Moseley. I just have a feeling that, in September, the Padres will be getting guys like Wieland and Erlin some starts as a springboard toward 2013.
In the case of Wieland, he might be up a whole lot sooner than the end of the season. Again, these are just guesses, but I think we can all agree the Padres would like to see guys like Erlin, Wieland and Kelly as part of their rotation for many years. I think this is the year all three break through and reach the Major Leagues and crack the starting rotation. As for craft beer, there's a lot to like here in San Diego -- Ballast Point, Karl Strauss, Iron Fist, Lost Abbey, Alpine, Green Flash, Stone and Pizza Port -- it's hard to choose just one.
What are the chances the Padres make a move to add another decent bat before Spring Training either through free agency or trade?
-- Ismeal E., San Diego
I think the Padres are done adding significant pieces before Spring Training. The signing of Owings on Thursday might be the final piece before the team heads to Peoria. Where would this position player play at this point? There's already more than enough outfielders. The team will head into the season with Jason Bartlett and Orlando Hudson at shortstop and second base and Yonder Alonso will get the first crack at winning the first-base job. Remember, you've still got to find some at-bats for Jesus Guzman. This is not to say the Padres won't ponder additions before the start of the regular season in April, but I think they're fairly confident in the group they've assembled to this point and feel their depth is at the very least adequate.